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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Precipitation has been below average this summer in Illinois.
Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey in Champaign says statewide average precipitation for June, July and August was just less than 10 inches. He says that's nearly 2 inches below average.
Data show June's rainfall was above average, but rainfall during both July and August were below average. However, Angel says this year is an improvement over last summer. That's when precipitation was just less than 7 inches or nearly 5 inches below average.
The summer's statewide average temperature has been 72.5 degrees. That's about 1 degree below average.
The storm system also could generate thunderstorms and tornadoes in parts of the South this weekend.
The National Weather Service says up to a foot of snow could start falling on northwest Kansas on Friday night, while Kansas City, Missouri, Indianapolis and Omaha, Nebraska could get up to 8 inches. Snow is expected to start in those cities late Saturday afternoon and continue through midday Sunday.
The system is expected to carry snow into the Northeast early next week.
In the South, forecasters say the system could spark tornadoes in Louisiana and Mississippi on Saturday.
From his acreage near Edwardsville, Campbell welcomed the snow. Like many farms, his soil in southwestern Illinois craves any moisture after a bone-dry growing season last year.
Climatologists say a foot of snow is roughly equal to an inch of water, depending on the snow's density. Campbell's region isn't getting quite that much, but the snow is important to growers of winter wheat. That crop goes dormant over winter before resuming growth in the spring, along the way using snow cover as a protective insulating blanket.
The latest weekly U.S. Drought Monitor update shows more than half of the continental U.S. still in some form of drought.